House Bill to Kill EPA Climate Regulations Moves Forward

House Bill to Kill EPA Climate Regulations Moves Forward

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Rob Crawley

A bill that would strip the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions moved forward Tuesday toward a full vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 Tuesday on a 34-19 vote, with all Republicans and three Democrats in support. At the same time, Senate Republicans attached duplicate legislation to an upcoming small business bill.

The House bill, also known as H.R. 910, would repeal the agency's finding that greenhouse gases are pollutants that endanger public health. The bill introduced last week would also repeal the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases and restrict the EPA from granting federal waivers for stricter fuel standards for vehicles made in 2017 or after, as it has previously done for California.

"This really is a shocking attack on states' rights and on public health," Stanley Young, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board, told the San Francisco Chronicle in a story published Monday. Young estimated H.R. 910 estimated could roll back upcoming cuts in pollution and petroleum consumption by 25 percent nationwide.

Bill co-sponsor Fred Upton (R-Mich.) initially billed the legislation as a job-saver and antidote to rising gas prices, a statement debunked by PolitiFact. Republicans have promised a full House vote before the Easter recess. Though passage seems likely in the House, its fate in the Senate is uncertain.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee spent hours debating the bill before it passed, with Democrats offering a range of amendments that were largely rejected, such as amendments affirming that humans are causing climate change.

"We are free as a political body to ignore science," said Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), according to Politico. "But just remember this: We are not experts, we are congressional experts. And a congressional expertise, when it comes to science, is an oxymoron; it's a contradiction in terms, like jumbo shrimp or Salt Lake City nightlife."

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Rob Crawley.